5 Month Old Puppy Suddenly Becomes Aggressive Towards Owner
(Van Nuys, CA, USA)
I've had my pitbull terrier mix since she was about 2 months old and she is a great dog. Loyal loving playful but about 2 weeks ago she's started getting really aggressive towards me.
She has bitten me twice now when i've tried taking things away from her that she shouldn't have in her mouth and she was never like that before. I used to be able to get something out of her mouth with no problems, a little growling and pulling back but never showing teeth until now.
She sleeps with me on my bed but i've noticed that when i make small movements and she's sleeping she starts to growl. She barks at me and wont let me touch her unless she comes towards me. But once i stop touching her and go to rub her back or something she once again starts growling.
I tried taking her chewing toy away because i thought she may have thought i was trying to take it from her so maybe she wouldnt growl anymore but it continued so i took her out to pee outside and when we came back she seemed to continue growling and snapping at me.
I'm not sure whats going on, i would like some help or advice on what i could do to stop this because she was never like this. I'm afraid that one night while i'm sleeping she'll attack me or my brother because
she sleeps with him too if we make sudden movements.
Should i take her to the vet to see if something is wrong with her or is she just becoming an aggressive dog??Gale's Reply:
Definitely take her to the vet to determine whether there could be a medical cause for her behavior. If she's ill, touch may be painful or her perceptions of what is going on around her may be skewed.
This dog should not be sleeping with you or your brother until her behavior is resolved at least. And, it may be that she's the type of dog that will need clear boundaries her entire life to be at her best. By which, I mean that she's not allowed on furniture or the bed UNLESS she's invited.
The booklet How to Be the Leader of the Pack - And Have Your Dog Love You for It!
by Patricia McConnell is a quick read and an excellent guide to making the changes in your relationship with your dog that will provide her with clear boundaries and the sense that you are in charge.
If everything checks out OK with the vet. The next step would be to have her evaluated by a professional trainer/behaviorist who can give you an assessment of the behavioral causes of her aggression and the options you have to address it.
Good luck. Feel free to post back here and let us know how things turn out.